Monday, February 21, 2011

the trip to Seoul

I took the train to Seoul over the weekend. I stayed in a hostel called Bong House, insert joke, and I met a lovely Parisian called Charline. On Saturday after I arrived I checked out some of the recommendations I had gotten from the Ravelry South Korea group for fibre and yarn shopping. On the whole, I'm not loving Korean yarn, but I was able to find some imported yarns I found interesting. I also looked at wool used to make yarn, and that also wasn't as exciting as I had hoped. There was one shop that has relocated that I will try to find for my next visit as it looked promising. Really, I just needed to see what was offered so I could know what was out there for me to experiment with, and I'm happy to think up new things to make.

My other reason for going was to see an art exhibition called Made in Popland. It was a retrospective of modern Asian art from Japan, South Korea, and China. Charline came along and we had a great time. She is studying business and is spending her required year abroad in SK. She says she is always on the lookout for museum exhibitions and plays and ballets, but that she has had a bit of a hard time finding information, and I have felt the same way, so we may join up again in the future to see something else.

I made the mistake of not having a train reservation and I talked to a station agent rather than using the ticket kiosk, so I ended up with a standing ticket. After they sell out all the seats on the train, they sell standing tickets. It was not enjoyable. On the way back I also didn't have a reservation, but I used the ticket kiosk so I could be sure to get a seat. There are trains leaving every 20-30 minutes, and then as infrequently as once an hour all through the night, so I had decided that I wanted a seat no matter what, and I had to wait for about 2 hours, but it was fine because I had a magazine, some podcasts, and I bought a hot chocolate.

There are several different types of trains, and even bullet trains. There is a station just a 15 minute bus ride from my house, and no bullet train leaves from there, but getting to the station that has the bullet train takes 45 minutes to an hour, so for a trip to Seoul it works out to be the same travel time, and is only a third of the price. The round trip fare is less than $20.00. In March or May I'll hopefully go south to the beach. I'm so thankful for the train because without it I would be sort of stuck in central Korea.

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